New Mexico receives grant to improve safety along deteriorating Permian Basin corridor

Nov. 8, 2019

The funding will be used to make repairs and improve safety along a section of the highway between Loving and the Texas border

Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation recently announced that the U.S. DOT awarded the New Mexico DOT (NMDOT) with a $12.5 million grant to make safety enhancement along U.S. 285.

The funding will be used to make repairs and improve safety along a section of the highway between Loving, New Mexico, and the Texas border. 

In addition to repairs from damage caused by increased heavy truck and equipment traffic, the project will provide turning and acceleration/deceleration lanes, shoulders, bridge structures, and stronger pavement on U.S. 285 from the Texas-New Mexico state line to Loving within the Permian Basin region.

“These funds to repair damage, add turn lanes, and enhance U.S. Highway 285 in the Permian Basin are critical for public safety and important for the southeast New Mexico economy,” Senator Tom Udall said in a statement. “Given the rapidly growing use of this roadway by heavy trucks and equipment, these federal funds will help NMDOT make U.S. 285 a safer, more reliable highway thoroughfare to the Texas border."

U.S. 285 is an important transportation artery in southeastern New Mexico that connects communities across the region that has seen intensified traffic associated with the oil and gas industry in the Permian Basin. Recently, the heightened usage of U.S. 285 by oil and gas transport vehicles has significantly worsened road conditions along this route. As a result, the affected highway section has experienced significant pavement failures, the appearance of sinkholes, and the degradation of associated bridge structures. That damage and limited safety features like turning lanes have contributed to an elevated level of traffic fatalities along this section of roadway.

“When I was in southeastern New Mexico earlier this year, I saw firsthand the impact that increased traffic in the Permian Basin has had on local roads, especially U.S. 285," Senator Martin Heinrich said in a statement. "We need to ensure the highway is safe for heavy work vehicles and for local residents who rely on the road to access employment, education, and emergency services."


SOURCE: Office of Senator Tom Udall